Owners Mark and Cindy Cassem hand me my last crème brûlée coffeecake,
cranberry orange scone and Americano coffee on Saturday. Photos by Melanie Dobson
By Melanie Dobson
Kasson residents and people from surrounding communities are sad to see their source for great coffee, and other treats, close.
Owners Cindy and Mark Cassem with the help of their sons Matt and Mike opened Prairie Stone Coffee and Juice in July 2006. They rented the kiosk building from the city of Kasson located at the Lions Park parking lot. But a new Shopko will be built on the land and the kiosk has to go.
Saturday was the last day open for Prairie Stone and it was "bittersweet" according to Cindy. There were many well wishers that stopped by to purchase their last cup of coffee. "We've had a lot of followers," Mark said. In addition to Kasson folks, they had regulars from Byron, Dodge Center, Hayfield and Claremont.
Some of the regulars also order coffee by the bag and the Cassems plan to continue that. "We hope to be an online coffee shop," Cindy said. Some of the popular flavors ordered are Jamaican Me Crazy, Caribbean Hazelnut, Jazzy Chestnut, Kahlua and, my favorite, Fair Trade Organic (FTO) Velvet Hammer. They posted an email address on their window firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employee Laura Holderness said working at Prairie Stone Coffee as a barista was her "favorite job of all time!"
"Who wouldn't love a job where you give people what they want, before they went to work or whatever," she said. "You made them happy before they went on their way." Holderness didn't have to work on Saturday but she stayed, "to go down with the ship.... this is just sadder than sad."
She had invited others to come join her and throughout the day, folks stopped to chat or sit on a patio chair, drink coffee and visit. One was Randy Hemker and his dog Clyde. Hemker stopped every morning when he walked Clyde and ordered the flavor of the day.
The Cassems are disappointed, it was a tough business, but things were getting better. They felt the shop was a benefit to the community.
'We have been proud to serve the Kasson community over the past almost seven years, and are sorry to be done," Cindy said. "The closing has been difficult for us. Maybe we will find a way to do an online coffee shop!"
I hope so, FTO Velvet Hammer is the perfect start to my day.